~ Margaret Mead
I was deeply honored to receive the Gary Schlarbaum Prize this past week. It was presented to me – as a "lifetime achievement award" – at the Ludwig von Mises Institute’s "Supporters’ Summit 2012" in Georgia. Not only am I thankful for the generosity of Gary Schlarbaum in providing this award, but it reinforces my sense of how creative change occurs in our world. I have long been of the view that civilizations are created by individuals, and are destroyed by collectives.
I remind people how the creative actions of individuals gave birth to Western Civilization including the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, the Scientific Revolution, the Reformation, the Industrial Revolution, among other epochs. These creative periods were largely prefaced by one Johann Gutenberg, whose invention of movable type made possible the mass printing and distribution of ideas that fostered the intellectual development of humanity. Nor can we overlook such relatively recent contributors to Western Civilization as Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs, and other individuals too numerous to list.
It is this social transformation that is the "terror" against which the institutional order now wars. As our world reorganizes itself into peaceful and productive systems that respect the inviolability of all persons, and relies upon spontaneous and informal processes for generating order; the political systems that now dominate mankind with their powers of death, destruction, imprisonment, torture, brutality, and other forms of violence, will lose their seductive powers.
It is in the spirit of fostering the kinds of paradigm shifts essential to human well-being, that Gary Schlarbaum so generously created this award. There are numerous other individuals working on behalf of rethinking what it means to live in society. The Ludwig von Mises Institute – along with LewRockwell.com – is one of many organizations dedicated to living in a world of peace and liberty.
I have written of the etymological history of our language, in which I discovered, years ago, that the words "peace," "freedom," "love," and "friend" share an interconnected history. Perhaps our ancestors knew what our collectivist thinking has caused most of us to forget; memories that are being restored to our minds by such people as Gary Schlarbaum, Lew Rockwell, Ron Paul, Ludwig von Mises, Murray Rothbard, Ayn Rand, and other individuals who know that men and women are capable of rediscovering what it means to live as human beings in civilized societies.